Elders relish new meeting place in Thomastown

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders living in Whittlesea will soon meet twice weekly in a new ‘home’ to celebrate culture, community and stories.

Whittlesea council officially launched its first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Planned Activity Group with a smoking ceremony at Bubup Wilam in Thomastown last week. Musician David Arden performed for about 60 people in attendance.

A group of elders began meeting unofficially in participants’ homes about 18 months ago to ensure older members of the indigenous community kept in touch socially and remained active.

About 14 members who have been meeting on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Creeds Farm in Epping will meet at Bubup Wilam Early Learning Aboriginal Children and Family Centre from next year.

Mill Park resident and elder David Watts has been attending the weekly meetings for eight months.

The self-described “spring chicken” says most who attend are in their 70s and enjoy the chance to get out of the house.

“Instead of sitting at home all day, as most people do, it gives them something to do,” Mr Watts said.

At the 2011 census, 1124 people in the City of Whittlesea identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander .

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